Now is the time for taking stock and re-planning.
New beds and paths can be made and garden carpentry
carried out. If the weather permits, continue
major digging, tidying up of beds and ground preparation.
Complete any reconstruction of the rock garden,
and refill window boxes with fresh soil.
TREES AND SHRUBS
Plant deciduous trees and shrubs, provided the
soil is neither waterlogged nor frozen. Stake
tall specimens and standards.
If new arrivals cannot be planted immediately,
leave them in their wrapping in a cool, frost-free
place, first making sure their roots are moist.
If bad weather persists, heel them in temporarily
on sheltered ground until conditions improve.
Re-firm soil that may have loosened in frost around
the bases of newly planted trees and shrubs, and
established plants exposed to wind.
If such creatures as rabbits and squirrels are
present, protect the trunks of young trees and
shrubs with plastic tree bandages or wire netting
to a height of about 2ft.
Carry out any necessary pruning – such as
thinning summer-flowering shrubs, cutting back
invasive roots and overhanging branches and general
shaping – in mild spells.
Check that all supports and ties are firm and
renew any loose or damaged fastenings.
Plant new bushes or transplant established ones
when ground and weather conditions allow.
Spray with tar-oil to protect plants against pests
Finish tidying beds and firm soil around plants
to prevent frost damage to roots and crowns.
Place cloches over Helleborus
niger to lengthen stems and keep flowers clean
for indoor decoration.
Sow slow-germinating seeds and those that need
shilling to germinate – that is, most alpine
plants including gentiana
biflora and Androsace
– in cold frames.
BULBS, CORMS AND TUBERS
Check stored tender bulbs, corms and tubers for
rot; cut out affected parts and dust the rest
with fungicide. Destroy badly affected specimens.
ANNUALS AND BIENNIALS
Plan the summer planting schemes, select and send
off seed catalogue orders.
Protect autumn-sown sweet
peas in frames by covering glass with matting
during hard frosts.
Lay new turf if ground conditions are suitable.
Avoid walking on the lawn after heavy frosts –
it can damage the grass.
Dig empty borders, remove weeds between established
plants, and apply a light, ground-covering mulch
during mild spells.
Mid Winter - January gardens